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Toyoko Tokiwa

After the American occupation of Yokohama, the district became ridden with brothels that catered to homesick servicemen. This was just one of the many pictorial scenarios that made Japanese photographer Toyoko Tokiwa famous.
Born 1930 in Yokohama, Tokiwa had always wanted to work with men, just like his brother who frequently used a Rolleicord camera. After graduating from the Tokyo Kasei-Gun, Tokiwa, who initially set her sights on broadcast journalism, turned her attention to photography.
Ken Domon’s photography style of realism highly influenced Tokiwa, who became a member of the Shirayuri Camera Club, an organization exclusively for women.
Tokiwa’s first images were that of the pier Osanbashi in Yokohama, where American servicemen said his and goodbyes to their families and friends. From this set-up she moved to Akasen, which was Yokohama’s famed red-light district. The Akasen prostitutes were just some of the many ‘working women’ featured in Tokiwa’s book “Kiken Na Adabana.” It also featured models, wrestlers, a
nd amas, which were captured by Tokiwa with the use of her Canon Rangefinder camera.
Apart from these women, “Kiken Na Adabana” chronicled Tokiwa’s pursuit of photography during the time when it was dominated by males.
Tokiwa is currently the chairwoman of the Kanagawa Prefectural Photographers’ Association.
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